Learning to say no

One of the most important aspects of both my personal and my academic life is that I truly enjoy being there for others, being generous with my time and helping out whenever I can. I also love to live new experiences, to keep learning and moving, and to give back to a universe that has given me so much. And, according to the people who know me best, it seems like I have a self-inflicted disease of not being able to sit still and let myself get bored for a bit. According to my mom, my plate always has to be piled high with things to do and, unless I have over three-hundred boxes to check on a to-do list, I just wouldn’t be me.

Well, this blog post title seems to contradict this intrinsic characteristic, doesn’t it? But the truth is, this is my esophagus talking. For the last 2-3 weeks, I have had my head full of so many things (more than ever, more than the busiest, craziest, most jam-packed periods of my life) both academic and not, both insanely complex (my research projects) and truly mundane (house stuff). Balancing everything, and making sure to make time for others, has been a precarious juggling act. I thought I had been doing a pretty good job at juggling, actually, until I slowly came to terms with the fact that I might be dropping a ball here and there, and getting hit in the head with one or two of them, because I’ve just got my hands TOO full. Admittedly, I’ve been feeling a moderate amount of anxiety. Not that I am hyperventilating (yet?), but my esophagus has been unhappily cramping on its own, without being provoked by anything, which has made it extremely difficult to sit, sleep, eat, drink, yawn, sneeze and even talk. It hurts like crazy. Even when I sit still and quietly, it has taken every opportunity to inform me that it is unhappy with the stress I am inflicting upon my body.

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